Amber reigns in Spain with festival victory
Norfolk's Amber Ratcliffe has opened her winning account for 2011 with a runaway victory in a prestigious U16 event in Spain.
The 15-year-old from Royal Cromer has been travelling to Murcia for years to take part in the Hacienda del Alamo Women's and Girls' Golf Festival – and each time she's returned a winner.
This year, her last in the age group, is no exception and she scored a 10-shot win in the Murcia U16 girls' 36-hole amateur open championship. She was also joint-winner of the handicap section – and that's no mean feat for a one-handicapper.
Ratcliffe shot 78 on the first day in a very brisk and blustery north wind before steaming away from the field with a level par 72. It was impressive scoring on the long Dave Thomas-designed course which is used as one of the stage two venues for European Tour qualifying.
Moving up to the ladies' competition should pose no fears for Ratcliffe. Her scores would have made her runner-up in the scratch event, two shots behind England girls international Bronte Law – and she would have won the handicap prize by two strokes.
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Ratcliffe is building on an excellent 2010 season when she won the English schools' U16 title, for the second year in succession, and won both the east region ladies' and girls' championships. She trains with the English Women's Golf Association Select Midlands Squad.
In April, she will play in the England squad in the Scottish U16 open strokeplay championship, alongside other top players of her age group. Last year she represented England in the North of England U16 championship at Pannal.
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Thetford's Jessica Dixon, who plays off 23, was runner-up in the Murcia U16 girls' stableford competition with 56 points over 36 holes.